India’s interest in Greek ports, Indian tourism, and labour policy – What did Mitsotakis and Modi discuss?
2 days ago
The visit of Narendra Modi to Greece on Friday is historic for several reasons, not only because he was the first Indian Prime Minister in our country after 40 years, but because it marks the beginning of a multi-level strategic cooperation. Deals relating to port acquisitions, strategic investments, tourism, and migration were all discussed.
This will prove fruitful as Greece is emerging as an East Mediterranean/South East European investment destination, while India, having overtaken China as the most populous country on the planet (with more than 1.4 billion inhabitants), is projected to become the second-largest economic power in the next half-century.
Greece and India, since 2019, pushed ahead to forge closer relations. Both countries consider each other ideal and reliable partners. India identifies Greece as an excellent partner to promote its commercial interests in the European Union. Effectively, New Delhi wants Greece to become its “Gateway to Europe.”
Modi made sure to reiterate on Friday that he considers Greece an essential economic, transport, and strategic gateway of India to the EU and talked about “great opportunities” on both sides, answering the question “why now,” with the argument that he appreciates the leadership ability of the Greek Prime Minister and what he has achieved in the last four years at the economic level.
The President of the Greek-Indian Chamber, Angelos Tsavdaris, has taken on the role of communication channel to prepare all the big deals that have come and will come. It is recalled that the Chamber had organised a Greek-Indian business forum a few months ago, which prepared the final opening of the bridge between the two countries, historically linked by friendly relations.
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The Greek-Indian Chamber had prioritised addressing the problem of the lack of labour in Greece. A source told Greek City Times that the Indian Prime Minister has proposed an interstate agreement to import skilled and unskilled personnel from India.
Modi also presented an interstate deal to direct millions of tourists from his homeland to Greece when there was an “explosion” of millionaires and an impressive economic climb of India’s middle class. However, the first agreement signed between the two sides concerns cooperation in agricultural production and exports of farm products (recall that Greek olive oil, for example, enjoys great popularity in India as it is considered the best in the world there).
Most important, however, is that Modi was accompanied by dozens of Indian business people, seven of whom are among the most powerful in the world, and accompanied him to dinner with the Prime Minister.
At the same time, they also met with Greek business people, discussing the prospects of cooperation. Modi and the business people accompanying him saw vast investment opportunities in Greece. They see opportunities in several sectors, from high technology to infrastructure, tourism with acquisitions of hotel units and marinas, heavy industry, transport, etc.
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What Narendra Modi reportedly focused on, however, was how Greece would officially become India’s central transit hub to Europe.
The same sources indicate that the Indian Prime Minister expressed the country’s interest in acquiring the use of ports in Greece. The reason for the interest relates to the Adani Group, the billionaire tycoon Gautam Adani (the richest Asian and, until last year, the number two on the list of Forbes, the wealthiest people on the planet).
According to sources, Adani has focused on two ports, primarily that of Kavala and secondarily that of Volos, while he is also interested in Alexandroupoli.
The Indian Prime Minister was accompanied by fellow businessmen who had either opened businesses or wanted to start an activity in Greece by investing directly or opening cooperation with Greek groups. These entrepreneurs operate in various industries, including infrastructure and construction, shipping and energy, food chain, pharmaceutical production, tourism, and clothing.
Their visit is anything but formal, given that they expressed the sectors they wanted to invest in and get straight to work in meetings with Greek business people.
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Among the Greek guests, according to informed sources, were the president of the BSE, Dimitris Papalexopoulos, the president of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Melina Travlou, the president of the Panhellenic Union of the Pharmaceutical Industry and managing director of ELPEN, Theodoros Tryfon, the CEO of Mytlineos, Evangelos Mytilenaios, the head of TEMES Achilleas Konstantakopoulos, the head of Eurobank, Fokion Karavias, businessmen Spyros Theodoropoulos and Giorgos Peristeris. Present, making the necessary recommendations and pushing the conversation towards business deals, was the general secretary of the Hellenic-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Economy, Dimitris Melas.fg
From the Indian side was the president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Sanjiv Puri, the executive director of Emcure Pharmaceutical Samit Satish Mehta, the executive director of the GMR company that participates in the consortium for the airport in Kastelli Samit Satish Mehta, the director of the UPL company that is active in food technology Vikram Shroff, the director of the Indian clothing and textile giant Shahi Exports Harish Kumar Ahuja and the vice-chairman of the pharmaceutical company Intas Binish Chudgar.
From the discussion between the business people and the two prime ministers, not only the vital interest of Indian business people to invest in Greece emerged, but there is also an “open road” and fertile ground for Greek companies to make an “opening” in the vast Indian market, taking advantage of the countless opportunities offered by the country’s rapid development and the gigantic market in real terms.
While the first contacts are judged to be very fruitful and constructive, and their results are expected to be seen shortly, according to sources, the Greek Prime Minister received an invitation from his Indian counterpart to visit New Delhi at the beginning of the year, accompanied by sending entrepreneurs interested in doing business in the Indian market.
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